UNESCO has placed over 1,000 World Heritage sites under strict protection for their Outstanding Universal Value. These include the world's most important historic cities and cultural monuments such as Venice, the Taj Mahal or Machu Picchu, the Amazon, temperate forests, lakes, savannah woodlands and superb examples of the Earth’s marine environment.
Key local people from severely threatened sites need to attend the World Heritage Watch and UNESCO World Heritage Committee meetings in July in Poland. They provide crucial information on what is happening to the sites and how they can be better protected.
Many World Heritage sites are under serious threat from:
- corruption and poor management
- violent conflict
- logging, mining and dams
- mass tourism
- uncontrolled urban development
The responsibility for safeguarding the world's heritage is increasingly falling to local people who often put their lives at risk to protect wildlife, forests and waters, their old towns and historic sites.
World Heritage Watch, based in Berlin, was set up in 2015 to support NGOs and indigenous peoples in their heroic work to:
1. Safeguard threatened World Heritage sites
2. Inform and lobby UNESCO and relevant governments on critical issues and
3. Raise international awareness of threats to World Heritage properties
PLEASE DONATE TODAY so we can fund these local heroes to attend critical World Heritage meetings!
Some of the world's most treasured sites depend on hearing from local heroes representing sites in Niger; Nepal; Indonesia; Pakistan; Mexico; Albania, Macedonia and Turkey.
Threatened World Heritage Sites we are helping include:
1. Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia), Earth's last refuge for orang utans, tigers, elephants and rhinos living together is in danger due to poaching & illegal logging
2. Lake Ohrid (Macedonia) – a local group tries to protect their primeval, bio-diverse lake and ancient city which are being destroyed by mass tourism development and urbanisation
3. Aïr & Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) – in a region torn by islamists and waves of refugees after the war in Libya, local Tuareg communities need support to protect the site & bring back tourists
4. Diyarbakir (Turkey) - The city's ancient walls have been shelled, historic districts bulldozed, and house owners disappropriated in the course of the state's purported crackdown on terrorists. The international community must urgently intervene
5. Kathmandu (Nepal) - While state agencies and private contractors doing improper reconstruction of cultural monuments destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, local communities are taking things into their own hands